Around Christmas time, we tend to get caught up in the moment. We start to realize and reflect on things we don't have and try find ways to fill those areas of our lives whether that's with gifts, relationships or something else. But when we strive to fill that longing with temporary things, that satisfaction, that feeling of fulfillment, doesn't last very long.
I am guilty of it just as much as the next person. I can tell you that for many years I tried to find fulfillment in material things: a beautiful custom piano, multiple homes, cars and money. I had everything but the one thing that could actually fill the hole I had in my heart, a better relationship with God. This realization took me a long time, God had been trying to get my attention for years but it took losing my job and those material possessions I mentioned earlier for me to finally pay attention.
So how did I find spiritual fulfillment? How can you find it when your life is cluttered with everything but God?
It starts with an attitude of gratitude. Let's be honest, how many times have you said, "I want" this month? This year? How often have you taken a tally of everything you do not have, wish you owned and desired?
"But my God shall supply your every need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).
I'm not saying it's wrong to desire things, but it's very important that before we ask our Creator for something, we need to stop and reflect on what He has already provided for us. Instead of creating a long list of what is wrong or missing in your life, take a minute to think of what you do have.
Family, friends, food, a home, car, clothes, a job, health, the gift of life—I don't know what would be on your list, but these are a few things on mine this year. Whatever is on that list, thank God for all He has given you because it truly is a blessing.
By emptying yourself of earthly desires, whether that's a "me-attitude," things or avarice, you make room for God to gift you love and joy. Perhaps one way you can do this is by volunteering at a homeless shelter, donating coats and hats or sharing a meal with a friend that has fallen on hard times.
I know how hard it can be this time of year not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, but I pray this serves as a reminder for all of us that none of these worldly materials will ever satisfy us. Only a deep, meaningful relationship with our Savior can give us the fulfillment our soul so deeply needs.
Jack Manilla is owner, president and CEO of Portofino Pools in Jacksonville, Florida. He shares his life journey in his new book, Secrets of The Pink House.
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